Seasons Greeting, Merry Christmas from Cowtown

Christmas is almost upon us and so I take this opportunity to wish you and yours all the very best from myself, my husband, Bob the Dog and the Cowtown Christmas Cows.   Mooey Christmas.

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(That is Bob in the background)

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Mooey Christmas to you.

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Sweet thoughts .

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Best wishes.

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Post Script: The Funeral Owl – Jim Kelly

The Funeral Owl, Jim Kelly

The Funeral Owl

Jim Kelly

Severn House

Creme de la Crime

ISBN: 9781780290492

 

Description:

When a reader contacts local newspaper The Crow to report a rare sighting of the Boreal or so-called ‘Funeral’ owl, the paper’s editor Philip Dryden has a sense of foreboding. For the Funeral Owl is said to be an omen of death.

It’s already proving to be one of the most eventful weeks in The Crow’s history. The body of a Chinese man has been discovered hanging from a cross in a churchyard in Brimstone Hill in the West Fens. The inquest into the deaths of two tramps found in a flooded ditch has unearthed some shocking findings. A series of metal thefts is plaguing the area. And PC Stokely Powell has requested Dryden’s help in solving a ten-year-old cold case: a series of violent art thefts culminating in a horrifying murder.

As Dryden investigates, he uncovers some curious links between the seemingly unrelated cases: it would appear the sighting of the Funeral Owl is proving prophetic in more ways than one.

My View:

When I selected this book I was unaware that this was the 7th book in the Philip Dryden series. It took me about 40 pages to become comfortable and familiar with the main characters and the location, after that I was fully immersed in this well written book of many mysteries.

This is a solidly written mystery, visually exemplary – I was able to place myself in the setting of the Ely countryside and see the houses, the farms, and the ghost like villages ever shrinking in population. Add to this vista the rundown church towers, the black dust storms and you have a contemporary landscape that is not pretty but one that is real and gritty and worthy of your interest.  Much is happening under the surface of these decaying towns; murders, an illicit brewery, art fraud, gang war fare, evidence of post traumatic stress brought about by events of the Korean War and other acts of violence closer to home; Kelly expertly draws all these seemingly unrelated threads together in a narrative that will keep you engaged to the very last page. A very satisfying read.

Post Script: A Deadly Justice – Kathy Bennett

A Deadly Justice

(LAPD Detective Maddie Divine)

Kathy Bennett

Kathy Bennett

ISBN: 9781475602562

 

 

Description:

A brutal murder. A rash of sophisticated burglaries. A serial rapist.

Little does veteran LAPD Detective Maddie Divine and her new partner, Jade Donovan, realize that a single thread tie the crimes together. But as their investigation digs deeper and the cases begin to unravel, they threaten to expose one of Maddie’s darkest secrets and force her to confront a truth she’s tried desperately to bury.

Harley Elliot: The sleazy broken-down owner of a trendy pizzaria pays his employees well above minimum wage. What’s in it for him, and if he gets caught, will he go to jail?

The Saunders Brothers:
Blake – A cunning manipulator who knows he’s devised the perfect crime.
Logan – The hot-tempered middle brother whose careless misadventure made him a perfect target.
Jeremy – The peacekeeper for his older brothers and the calculating voice of reason in their dysfunctional trio.

Shelbie Saunders: The adopted little sister of the wild Saunder’s boys is trying to find her place in the family as she blossoms into a young woman. Trying to keep up with her new brothers is her first mistake.

Zak Murdock: The brawny sergeant of police has a troubling history with Maddie’s partner, Jade. When he’s assigned to detectives, he puts Maddie and Jade in his sights.

Walt Lamb: The hard-working bartender at Harley’s pizzaria keeps a low profile to protect his ‘side job,’ yet he misses nothing.

My View:

This is an entertaining and somewhat light-hearted read about some deep and serious topics which reminded me somehow a little of the earlier Stephanie Plumb narratives; sometimes serious subjects/events treated with ease, in a language that is easy to read and understand, that doesn’t take itself too seriously, that mixes a bit of humour, sarcasm and eye rolling with a little mystery and romance. But do not forget this is also a great police procedural, Kathy Bennett’s work history (she was a serving officer, now retired) paints the officers and the Division they work in, in authentic colours; the politics, the budget/number crunching, the stereotypes, the day to day difficulties, the crimes…all sound too real.

Detectives Divine and Cash McCool (yes those are the names) are an enterprising and determined pair of investigators. Divine has a sad history compounded with a secret that she eventually shares with the reader and a few others (no spoilers here). Bennett tackles this subject tenderly and respectfully. Her message gets through loud and clear without sounding dictatorial. You will be on Maddie Divine’s side. You will look forward to seeing her bloom in the next book.( I am sure there will be one)

This is a fast, enjoyable and satisfying read.

Post Script: The Bridesmaid: Jenny Scotti

A village cozy reminiscent of Midsomer’s charms and secrets.

The Bridesmaid

The Bridesmaid

Jenny Scotti

Createspace

ISBN: 1490300929

Description:

A Love Affair… A Secret… A Murder…

Haddley, a quiet English village in the Midlands. Kelly Evans — a sixteen year old girl — is brutally murdered. Her body is discovered by a neighbour, and the police are called in to investigate. Kelly was young and beautiful, and her untimely death comes as a shock to all who knew her … or does it really?

The dark side of Kelly’s personality soon comes to light. She was ruthless and promiscuous, and stopped at nothing to get what she wanted, even if it meant wrecking other people’s lives. She made quite a few enemies, and among close friends and neighbours are some who might have had a very good reason for wanting to get rid of her.

The investigation takes a new and unexpected turn when a locket goes missing, and a connection is made with the twenty-year-old murder of a wartime movie star. As the police search the past for answers and gradually piece the mystery together, the respectable veneer starts cracking exposing a web of jealousy, sexual intrigue and deceit.

My View:

This is an interesting debut novel from Jenny Scotti that reminds me of the so much of Midsomer Murders; so many secrets, lies, affairs and strange goings on in one small village, all that is missing is the empathetic police protagonists.

I did however find the introduction required a bit of concentration – so many characters and perspectives to assimilate but once I had handle on the who’s who of the village I quickly fell in sync with the writer’s tempo and voice.  The creation of suspicion and blame is noteworthy – suspicion was created and passed around like a hot potato – quickly – from one set of scorched hands to another. The ending will surprise.

Post Script: Dead Man’s Time – Peter James

Maybe one for the fans of the series 

Dead Man's Time, Peter James

Dead Man’s Time (Roy Grace #9)

Peter James

Macmillan

Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9780230760547

Description:

A vicious robbery at a secluded Brighton mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying, and millions taken in valuables. But, as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, heading the enquiry, rapidly learns, there is one item, of priceless sentimental value, that her powerful family care about, above all else. And they are fully prepared to take the law into their own hands, and do anything, absolutely anything, to get it back.

Within days, Grace finds himself following a murderous race against the clock that leads him from the shady antiques world of Brighton, across Europe and back in time to the New York waterfront gang struggles of 1922, chasing a killer driven by the power of one man’s greed and another man’s fury.

My View:

I didn’t realise when I picked up this novel that is the 9th book in the Roy Grace series and for the most part I was happily able to progress through the book without any regrets or too much missing background aside from  missing the nuances of the sub plot relating to Sandy, which actually wasn’t very well developed, it didn’t add much to the story and largely I wondered why this section was even included.  I ploughed merrily through this book noting how well the author weaves the memories of the past with the current world of the main characters.

This is a well written, incident based, police procedural that climaxes in an explosion of retribution. The narrative has an authentic voice and is an interesting and well constructed read but for me lacked strong believable characters (aside from Gavin Daly who I thought was well written). I found Cleo whinny. I found Roy Grace too concerned with being a politically correct parent/police officer and a little one dimensional whilst he was at it. The intrusion of loose references to a certain contemporary book on erotica added nothing to the story and added no depth to the characters. Stereo types abounded.

However, if you are looking for a well plotted police procedural  this book is for you (and maybe if you have read the others in the series you might find a connection that I didn’t) and for me that was the books downfall – I didn’t connect with the characters.  I didn’t want to see the baby harmed but aside from that I didn’t really care about any of characters. And I wasn’t gripped by the narrative; I happily could put book the down for a day or two and then pick it up again.  And I found a flaw in the plot – a minor one but distracting all the same (I won’t reveal the problem but will say it is about identities).

 

 

 

A Sunday Drive to Busselton WA

It was a perfect day for a leisurely drive to Busselton where we had a walk along the lovely foreshore and took Bob off the lead for a paddle at the beach.

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The Busselton Jetty and foreshore have recently been redeveloped and now provides a perfect place for a stroll, a picnic or a BBQ. The foreshore is dotted with BBQs, tables, shelters and drinking water on tap. The car parks have been extended and there is plenty of room for all including large vehicles to park. A great spot.

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